Hub of attraction
Sharjah Airport, already one of the Middle East’s busiest air cargo hubs, is rapidly becoming one of the region’s fastest growing passenger hubs.
Last year, the airport witnessed strong increases in passenger figures, in terms of flights operated and passenger throughput.
The airport exceeded its targets for 2004 in terms of overall operational performance and revenues earned, and its saw a 16 per cent increase in aircraft movements and a 33.23 per cent increase in passenger movements, airport officials said.
There were 23,015 scheduled and 9,319 non-scheduled flight movements in 2004, marking a 27.32 per cent increase in scheduled operations.
“We like to describe Sharjah, the gateway to Arabia, as the perfect transit point on your way to the east or west,” says Dr Ganem Al Hajri, the airport’s director-general. ‘‘This shows what is unique about Sharjah and what we want our industry partners to know.’’
The increase in passenger figures moving through Sharjah can be attributed to Air Arabia and its successful operation since its launch in 2003, Al Hajri says.
He expects an overall increase in 2005 and bigger increases in the years ahead.
Last April, July and August saw the highest comparative increases from 2003 both in aircraft movements as well as passenger traffic.
There was a healthy average increase of 57 per cent specifically between April and October.
Overall, the comparative increase of about 34 per cent in passenger movements in 2004 is an indication of passenger confidence and loyalty to the airport.
“It is our persistent efforts to achieve the best that is driving the airport forward,” said Ali Salem Al Midfa, the airport’s director of administration and commercial affairs.
The Sharjah Department of Civil Aviation (SDCA), chaired by Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, ensures the airport strictly adheres to international quality features and security standards. The SDCA works in close co-ordination with government departments such as the customs service, immigration authorities and police, ensuring its customers receive friendly and professional service.
In order to increase the airport’s capacity in line with the anticipated levels of growth, Sharjah airport is undergoing a massive expansion, to be completed next year.
The passenger terminal will receive a major facelift, including various additions within the terminal providing greater passenger comfort, leisure and convenience.